Among many noted cinema personalities who have contributed greatly to the success of countless films through their impeccable performance in supporting roles is Dalip Tahil. Having completed almost 50 years in the Hindi film industry, the veteran actor has played supporting roles, both positive and negative although he won more acclaim in his negative portrayals. He debuted with the 1974 film Ankur after director Shyam Benegal offered him the role after watching him perform in a few plays by the Theatre Group Bombay.
The actor went a long period without work after making his debut in Ankur. Following this, Ramesh Sippy cast him as a villain in the 1980 movie Shaan. Dalip became an overnight sensation because of the awe he inspired in the audience with his performance as one of the movie’s antagonists. Dalip started receiving offers for other major films after this movie.
He played characters that were a lot older than his real age, for example playing Aamir Khan’s father in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak at just 31. Shammi Kapoor was to do the role but after he opted out, Dalip Tahil was brought on board. Throughout the 90s, Dalip Tahil was one of the busiest supporting actors, often working three shifts a day. His role as Madan Chopra, the main antagonist in Shah Rukh Khan’s cult film Baazigar, remains one of his most memorable roles from that decade.
A big high point of his career was when he appeared with Mithun Chakraborty in 15 films in just one year. In an earlier interview, Dalip Tahil talked about the changing dynamics in the film industry and how things were different now from his heyday.
He said that during his time, any actor who did not work at least three shifts a day would be referred to as not having work. He presented his own example of how he starred in 15 films with Mithun Chakraborty in a year to stay in the rat race whereas stars nowadays work in one film in three years and can still retain their stardom.